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  1. #1
    Winter blues... slacker00's Avatar
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    "Tornado" bicycles, made in Italy, circa 1960's era?

    I tried doing an internet search for "Tornado" bicycles, made in Italy, circa 1960's era, but I come up completely empty. Maybe someone in this forum can help.

    My neighbor, stopped by tonight riding an old road bike he's had for a long time and I looked it over. It seems the company name is "Tornado" with the name on the frame, as well as an ornate metal badge on the front that also says "Tornado" as a sort of emblem. The top tube also had "Amateur", which I imagine was the model name. Another thing I noticed where "Made in Italy" as a sticker on front of the seat tube, near the BB. A big thing that stuck out to me was the cottered cranks, I just don't see those around. It had a Campy "group", which really seemed "antique" looking to me. I mean I just haven't seen anything that looked like that before, I'd maybe imagine 1960's era, but maybe even older. My experience with road bikes has been pretty much '70's and beyond. The wheels were vintage, but somewhat high quality, at least what I might imagine high quality was back then. I read the brand of the wheelset too, but I already forgot. Anyone every heard of "Tornado"?

    Cliff notes:
    Style: Road Bike
    Brand: Tornado
    Model: Amateur
    Frame: Steel, Lugged ("Made in Italy")
    Group: Campy (2x6?, I didn't count the cogs.)
    Cranks: Cottered
    Wheel: 27", Aluminum rims?, they seemed pretty decent for the era.
    Era: 1960's?


    I'm mostly just curious about the company or any other background on this bike. Seeing an "Italian made" bike is somewhat of a novelty these days.

  2. #2
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    1959 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1966 Bottecchia Professional, 1971 Bottecchia Professional (frame),
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    1974 Peugeot UO-8, 1988 Panasonic PT-3500, 2002 Bianchi Veloce, 2004 Bianchi Pista

  3. #3
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    Your description doesn't give us a lot to go on. At a glance a high-end 1950's bike looks a lot like an entry level 1970's bike. Things crossed over in the early-mid 60's. A steel cottered crank would indicate entry level in 1970 but could be a pretty nice bike in 1955. At one time Campagnolo Gran Sport was top of the line until it was replaced by Record and then Nuovo Record but then Valentino came along and looked a lot like some of the old Gran Sport stuff. Aluminum rims would indicate higher quality but some lower mid-range bikes came with them in the early 70's. We need pictures to really tell anything.
    1959 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1966 Bottecchia Professional, 1971 Bottecchia Professional (frame),
    1973 Bottecchia Gran Turismo, 1974 Bottecchia Special, 1977 Bottecchia Special (frame),
    1974 Peugeot UO-8, 1988 Panasonic PT-3500, 2002 Bianchi Veloce, 2004 Bianchi Pista

  4. #4
    Winter blues... slacker00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kommisar89 View Post
    Thanks for the link.

    Dang, now I'm perplexed!

    I could've sworn it said "Tornado", and even the guy who owned the bike for decades told me "Tornado", or at least that's what I thought he said. lmao.

    One of those things, I may not see him riding past for another month so I can get another look at the bike.

  5. #5
    Winter blues... slacker00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kommisar89 View Post
    Your description doesn't give us a lot to go on. At a glance a high-end 1950's bike looks a lot like an entry level 1970's bike. Things crossed over in the early-mid 60's. A steel cottered crank would indicate entry level in 1970 but could be a pretty nice bike in 1955. At one time Campagnolo Gran Sport was top of the line until it was replaced by Record and then Nuovo Record but then Valentino came along and looked a lot like some of the old Gran Sport stuff. Aluminum rims would indicate higher quality but some lower mid-range bikes came with them in the early 70's. We need pictures to really tell anything.
    Yeah, I didn't really think about taking pictures or anything "in the moment". I just figured I could google it and it would come right up. Kinda naive, I guess. Maybe next time I see him, I can ask him if I can take a picture.

    The bike definitely looks older than the bikes on the Torpado website link. The shifter levers, for example, seem really ornate, I mean excessively. The rear derailler had a couple red "C"'s on it, they kinda looked like plastic gems something. I'm not sure if that's relevant.

    Your above explanation does give some interesting information, though, thanks.

    I'll maybe just shelf this exploration for now, and bump this thread if I can get some pictures at a later date. I've known the guy, and his bike, for decades, but I've never really had much interest in vintage road bikes until recently.

  6. #6
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    Yeah unfortunately they only have pictures of early 80's models at that link. Use the search function on this forum and search for 'Torpado' - it's a well known if not exactly common Italian mark. I've never heard of Tornado but that doesn't mean much either. A guy once showed me a vintage mountain bike that I now have in the garage and I would have sworn it was called a Peekpro or something like that and I couldn't find any information on it - it was actually a Parkpre.
    1959 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1966 Bottecchia Professional, 1971 Bottecchia Professional (frame),
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  7. #7
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    Yes, it's probably Torpado. Their font left he "P" open at the bottom of the circle. Pending pics for confirmation, the odds are that it is a boom era model, most likely the 2nd from the bottom of the line, which used Campagnolo Valentino deraillers. My best friend in the early 1970s had one. Despite being entry level, they were real eye candy, with lots of chrome and ornate lugs. I've got some pics of one, which I'll post tonight.

  8. #8
    Winter blues... slacker00's Avatar
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    I got some pics!

    Now if I can figure out how to post them... Let see if I can get this to work...

    I apologize in advance for the poor camerawork. I took a couple dozen pics, here are the best ones.

    The first pic, maybe you can now understand why I thought it said, "Tornado". lol

    In the second pic, I like the bolt heads with the red "C", I just think it looks cool. It isn't plastic, it's just a machined ornamental bolthead, I guess.

    In the third pic, that's the sticker on the rim and reads "CERCHI NISI MONCOLIERI" if my eyes are good.

    In the fourth pic, you can read "Amateur" on the top tube, as well as get a look at the lugwork and part of the badge. My other Badge closeup pics turned out blurry, otherwise I'd have posted one of those also.

    In the fifth pic, you can read "VICENZA PATENT CAMPAGNOLO ITALY" on the shift levers.












  9. #9
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    So based on the pictures I'd guess it's an early 70's entry level Italian bike, hi-tensile steel frame. The Nisi rims are a cut above the typical steel rim of the period. I would guess the brakes are Universal although who knows what those levers are but they aren't original. Can you tell what the hubs are? They might be Gnutti but I don't think they are Campagnolo. Derailleurs look like Valentino although I think the shifters are Gran Sport. It clearly needs a lot of maintenance but in good shape and properly configured (like loose the matress saddle and the DUI handlebar position) it would be a nice riding, decent handling bike that should weigh in around 26-lbs with that steel cottered crank.
    1959 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1966 Bottecchia Professional, 1971 Bottecchia Professional (frame),
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  10. #10
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    Actually I'd say late 1970s. The boom era models were much fancier, all chrome with many of the color options featuring translucent paint. The head lugs were unpainted, with exposed chrome and had prominent cut-outs. Those rear derailleurs and shifters are Velox. The brakes may be Universal or Balilla.
    Last edited by T-Mar; 07-16-08 at 06:38 PM.

  11. #11
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    Here's a pic of the bottom of the line, boom era model. Note the extensive chrome, including head lugs. And those are not foil decals but exposed chrome. Also, note the Simplex derailleurs which indicate it is the lowest model. I can't find a good pic of the head lugs, but they were similar to the Atala offerings of the period.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
    Actually I'd say late 1970s. The boom era models were much fancier, all chrome with many of the color options featuring translucent paint. The head lugs were unpainted, with exposed chrome and had prominent cut-outs. Those rear derailleurs and shifters are Velox. The brakes may be Universal or Balilla.
    Velox? Never heard of those. You learn something new all the time
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  13. #13
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    I owned a Tornado very briefly back in 1984. The bike was given to me by my then boss, but the frame was too big and I rode it only once. I ended up giving it away to my friend Jimmy. Can't recall too much about that Tornado except the name (I thought of it as my Oldsmobile) and the fact that it was dark red and too big for me.

  14. #14
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    Looks very similar to a Labonne I found a month or so ago. Chrome socks on both ends, chrome ornate lugs, campy valentino FD, RD, and shifters with balilla brakes and levers, and that same horrid hard plastic looking saddle.

  15. #15
    Winter blues... slacker00's Avatar
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    Yes, the rear derailler is Velox, that sounds right. It said on the derailler and I took a picture of it, but it came out too blurry to read.

    Yes, I think the hubs are Gnutti. I read that somewhere on the bike, but it might have been on the QR levers.

    The owner tried hard to date the bike, but he wasn't sure. It sounds like he's had it for 30+ years, and he wasn't the original owner. But he was really struggling to decide exactly when he had acquired the bike.

    Thanks for the help, guys. I know the bike isn't a super "find" or anything, it just struck me as interesting. I've never really been exposed to anything like it. I was just curious about it. Most bikes I see around are fairly modern.

    P.S. I have no interest in fixing the bike up or anything. The owner seems happy with it as is, and it's not my place to interfere with his bike riding happiness. I hope he enjoys this bicycle for many more years.
    Last edited by slacker00; 07-16-08 at 09:43 PM.

  16. #16
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    I also did a search on tornado bikes because i have one and had no clue what it is worth. Picked it up at a thrift store for 25 bucks because it had campy on it. if you want pics to compare i can send some out. Just trying to find out more about it.

  17. #17
    As found... devinfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bct555 View Post
    Looks very similar to a Labonne I found a month or so ago. Chrome socks on both ends, chrome ornate lugs, campy valentino FD, RD, and shifters with balilla brakes and levers, and that same horrid hard plastic looking saddle.
    Isn't that horrid hard saddle an early Cinelli Unicanitor?

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